Microsoft Tag Makes Inroads At More Than 53,000 Stores

Shoppers at CVS and Walgreens, among many other stores, are now able to use their smart phones to scan Microsoft Tag 2D barcodes on Herbal Essences products. The Tags are designed as shelf talkers that provide information to help shoppers decide which hair care product to purchase. Herbal Essences rolled out the campaign to more than 53,000 stores in the U.S. including food stores, drug stores, mass merchants, dollar stores and office supply stores.

By scanning the Tag, shoppers can view detailed descriptions of each hair care collection that corresponds to their hair type, according to Microsoft. Customers also are invited to take a quiz about their hair type, view product reviews and view YouTube videos with tips on hair styling.

Recent research shows that this type of enhanced marketing is on the rise, with 21% currently using 2D barcodes and an additional 40% saying they have plans to add the technology within the next 12 to 24 months, according to the November 2010 report titled “Going Mobile,” presented by IHL Services and RetailConnections.


Microsoft’s Tags are customizable and can be displayed on products, shelves or in printed documents. Shoppers are able to scan the tags using a free downloadable Microsoft Tag Reader. Once the user scans the tag they are taken to web pages, images, videos, songs, information, coupons or other interactive experiences. Companies who are interested in learning more about how Tag is used can access videos on YouTube.

Microsoft describes 6 different ways Tag can help retailers enhance their marketing efforts:

  1. Provide Fast Access to More Information: Give visitors to your brick and mortar stores immediate access to the same types of in-depth product information they have come to expect online.
  2. Engage with Consumers via Ads: Use Tag in print advertising to create fun and interactive experiences for consumers and make it easier for them to buy.
  3. Enhance Couponing: Add interactivity to your couponing campaigns and take advantage of the dynamic flexibility of Tag to change offers on the fly.
  4. Integrate Sales Channels for a Unified Experience: Connect various sales channels, including your brick and mortar stores, online stores, and catalogs to provide a more cohesive experience for shoppers.
  5. Create Interactive Gift Cards: Let customers easily check their balance, find the closest store, or view or listen to a message from the gift giver – and turn those interactions into merchandising opportunities.
  6. Personalize Interactions with Your Customers: Tailor experiences for your customers by gathering information about them and make the most of your loyalty or membership programs.

Tag also offers built-in analytics and reporting capabilities. With Tag, users currently are able to generate the following reports:

  • Daily Scans: Charts the number of scans perday for a single Tag
  • Scan Totals: Charts the total number of scans for each Tag in a category over the lifetime of the Tag or during a specified timeframe
  • Scan Totals By Category: Charts the total number of scans for each of your categories
  • Daily Scans (Multiple Tags): Charts the number of scans per day for multiple selected Tags in a category
  • Daily Scans (Category Totals): Charts the total of scans per day for all the Tags in a category
  • Daily Scans (Compare Categories): Compares the total number of daily scans for different categories

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